The first day of pre-season testing for the 2016 Formula One was conducted in Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit on February 22, 2016. McLaren Honda, who welcomed its second tag-team match, participated in the pre-testing with the MP4-31 machine for this season, which has been released the day before. It achieved 6th in place with 84 laps.
Jenson Button was in charge on the first day of pre-testing. He experienced troubles during his first participation in the race last year, and although he was able to achieve a lap time with only 18 seconds delay from the first placer, he’s doing great turns this year. While en route, there was one period when he was busy in the garage for several hours; nevertheless, he finished the first day without encountering any serious troubles. He achieved a lap time of 1:26.735.
They were worried about the possibility of encountering many troubles on the first day of pre-testing, just like last year, but when the pre-testing was over, he was 4th in place among the 11 teams and finished with 84 laps. In terms of distance, he was able to drive about 391km of an actual racing event.
On the first day of the run, they were able to assimilate a program that integrated confirmation of the machine’s parts. Button commented after finishing the first day of pre-testing, “We spent time mostly in testing its new systems. Today’s results were very positive, and I was able to finish the day without encountering any troubles. I was not able to finish over five laps during the first pre-testing last year. Given that, this is an exceptional progress. I was also able to confirm myself the machine’s excellent feel.” It seems that he felt its response as he was able to run the machine without any serious problems.
Furthermore, McLaren Honda Racing Director Ã‰ric Boullier also commented, “We became motivated after being able to finish a good number of laps on the first day of pre-testing. We were able to gather very positive initial data today. We look forward to continue concentrating on the tests tomorrow as well. We still do not want to make predictions as to our standing as of now. It is still too early to do so. Before thinking about our performance, we still need to gather more data and tools. Today’s results became our first step towards moving ahead to the right direction and it’s still a long way to go. We will move forward day by day, steadily.”
The second day of pre-testing will start on February 23 at 5:00 PM (Japanese time), and Fernando Alonso will be in charge of testing the machine. They anticipate making a step forward on the second day in terms of the system checking, as well as the total running distance achieved on the first day.
(Translated by Claire Marie Sausora)